In 1890, during a meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Utica, evangelist Sam Hedley stressed the need for a Rescue Mission to care for the transient and alcoholic men who were congregating on the streets. Later that year, the first Mission building was rented at 24 Liberty Street, where they provided transients and homeless men with overnight lodging and soup.
In 1891, C.W. Roberts became the Mission’s first superintendent. A former alcoholic and gambler, Roberts had turned his life around at the Jerry McAuley Water Street Mission.
In 1905, the Mission was incorporated.
In 1928, the Mission purchased its first building, at 33 Genesee Street on Baggs Square. The building, which provided 36 beds, was often filled to overflowing. Alcoholism among men was on the rise and the Rescue Mission saw the need to provide a rehabilitation program.
In 1971, as a result of the Baggs Square expansion project, the Mission relocated to 203 Rutger Street, the first of nine buildings on its current campus.
In 1976, the Mission opened the only sobering-up station in Oneida County.
In 2015, the Mission celebrated its 125th Anniversary and implemented our new Skills for Success Job Training Program. So far 14 have graduated from the program. Many exciting things are in the works here at the Mission, so stay tuned!
Learn more with Reaching Out, Changing Lives – The Rescue Mission of Utica Story, a book about our history written by David A. Siegenthaler. Cost of $20 includes shipping and handling. Email Stacia Bridger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315.735.1645×2101 to request a copy.